St. Bride's Harbour Authority looking for help since January
The snow crab fishery opened in most parts of the province in early April, but fish harvesters in St. Bride's are having a hard time boarding their boats due to the state of the floating docks.
The St. Bride's Harbour Authority has been trying to convince the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) small craft harbours division to fix the docks since January, but harbour authority vice-president Gerald Dalton said nothing has been done so far.
"Over the course of the fall and winter, the docks became loose and started moving squish ways, so we asked the small craft harbours people to realign them and put the anchors out," said Dalton.
The looseness eventually damaged ramps with railings that lead to the floating docks.
Dalton said officials from small craft harbours came to inspect the damage in January. At the time, he said DFO committed to fixing the docks.
Since then, the harbour authority has elected to remove the ramps due to safety concerns.
"They were hanging down in the water, and we were afraid someone could climb down on it and next thing you know, somebody drowned," he said.
Dalton said people looking to access boats from the floating docks are now using a ladder to do so.
"They know the crab season is open, and the fishermen have their boats out and they want to get out and work on their boats," said Dalton.
In a recent exchange with an official from small craft harbours, Dalton said it was suggested that the harbour authority put back the ramps on a temporary basis until it can complete full repairs. Dalton said to do so would be unwise.
Between 30 and 40 local boats are typically docked in St. Bride's, and Dalton said the harbour accommodates boats from St. Mary's Bay, Placentia Bay, Burin Peninsula and Fortune Bay during the summer months.
No one from small craft harbours was available to speak with TC Media, but an emailed statement said a condition assessment was completed earlier this year and identified a number of issues, including access to the floating docks.
DFO officials and a marine contractor are expected to visit the site next week to complete detailed measurements in order to deal with necessary repairs.
The department said it expects to complete work on the floating docks by the end of April.
Dalton is uncertain whether such deadlines can be met.
"There's an awful lot of work to be done," he said.